Government reviewing funding proposals for restructuring SAA

South Africa’s government is claiming to have received a number of unsolicited proposals to fund a new national airline in the aftermath of South African Airways’ business rescue process.

These proposals have been received from private-sector funds, equity investors, and potential airline partners, says the government’s department of public enterprises.

It has not identified any of the parties involved.

But the department says it is intent on “pursuing credible proposals” for investment and strategic private-sector partnerships, as well as equity participation by employees.

SAA has been immersed in a business rescue scheme since early December last year, but the government has been critical over some aspects of the process.

The rescue practitioners put forward a finalised business plan on 16 June, and a creditors meeting has been scheduled for 25 June to discuss and vote on the plan.

This plan has envisaged a modest fleet of 26 aircraft, a reduced workforce, and a focus on regional services, with a handful of intercontinental connections.

The government says it wants an airline with an efficient and modern fleet, comprising “hybrid density options”, acquired at competitive rates.

It says the “customer-centric” airline must offer “the right routes, at the right times”, be staffed by a “motivated” workforce, and be overseen by an “effective, competent and empowered” board of directors with appropriate aviation experience.

With the coronavirus crisis having severely affected the air transport network, it adds, South Africa could potentially benefit from airline partnerships to “improve scale and scope”.

“[This] government has expressed its intent and commitment to fundamentally restructure and transform SAA into a viable, sustainable and competitive national carrier,” it says.